Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on October 7th, 2011.
I have discovered that being a western MP means that you will need to get used to flying. It is roughly five hours of flying time between Ottawa and the riding of Okanagan Coquihalla…however when heading to Ottawa you also jump three hours ahead in time zones so it is essentially a day you lose in the air and various airports depending on your connecting flights. Often it is not a fun day and one that often begins at 4 am and can end at 11 pm depending on what airport and linking flights that you have. It is also not a fun day for taxpayers either as the topic of travel expenses is one that makes many citizens boil over, and understandably so.
The challenge is that it is also a difficult expense to avoid given the great distance between Ottawa and where most of us live in Western Canada. For the record I typically fly out with WestJet out of Kelowna. That is also an issue because I would like to support our Penticton Regional Airport; but that at the moment would require flying further west first to Vancouver and then to Ottawa. This is currently not as efficient and is complicated by a lack of choice with connecting flights.
My situation aside, there is a group of local citizens that are currently working to promote the benefits of a Penticton to Calgary flights to Air Canada. This would be very helpful to the regional economy and is an effort that I will be supporting. At some point in the near future our expenses as Members of Parliament will be publicly available and I will ensure a link is posted here on the website so citizens can be aware of the costs involved.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.